Monday, April 30, 2012

Why I love Hawaiian Airlines

I remember the first time I ever saw a Hawaiian Airlines plane. I was visiting Hawaii for the first time. While standing quietly (but so excitedly) in line, I looked out the terminal window hoping to get a glimpse of Diamond Head. What caught my eye instead was a vision of purple and pink. The face of a beautiful woman blossoming from a flower. It was Pualani "Flower of the Sky", emblazoned on the tail of a shiny new jet.

Being a graphic designer I always pay attention to the small details of brand identity: colors, language, culture, etc. Every designer has that "I wish I'd thought of that" moment. I have this feeling EVERY SINGLE TIME I see an HAL plane...and living in Ewa Beach, that's pretty much every day.

Former Miss Hawaii Leinaala Teruya helped promote original Pualani logo in 1974.

The reason I am so inspired by this artwork is because you don't have to be a designer to be utterly stunned by it's elegance. She's an exotic beauty, gazing beyond the horizon. Wherever she may be going, you want to go with her. She is simple, iconic, and purely sublime.

I find the HAL logo more than inspiring--it is inspired--and that is something that touches me deeply. As an artist I yearn to capture this same spirit; to bestow upon the viewer a desire to get lost in place full of wonder and delight. The way people say my work makes them feel is the way this art makes ME feel.

As I prepare to take another trip with Hawaiian Airlines, I look forward to traveling with Pualani beyond that beautiful horizon.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Golden Week 2012!


I'm so excited to participate at this year's Hawaii Festival in Odaiba. I've been gearing up for a week of fun and making new friends in Japan. However, I could not forget that Golden Week is also a much anticipated holiday here in Hawaii!

Whether you're a local or visitor, there are many exciting things to see in do this time of year. The weather is spectacular, the mountains are lush, and the waves are crystal blue. Everyone is in a great mood. How could we not be? We're in Hawaii!

If you're in Waikiki, stop by Greenroom Hawaii Gallery to see my new prints and summer releases. If you're in the North Shore, make sure to visit Thomadro Gallery in Haleiwa!

Wish you all a happy visit to Hawaii and for those of you back in Japan, see you soon!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Postcard Set

Introducing a limited edition 6-postcard set! Each set includes "Islands", "Love Letter" and "Makana Breeze" (two of each). Postcard size 4x6, UV coated on both sides. Available through my shop only for a limited time!

Buy now

New Goodies!

The past few weeks have been insanely busy between preparing for the upcoming festival in Tokyo and introducing new items for release. Here are two of my latest limited edition Giclees that will be available at the Odaiba Hawaii Festival, May 2nd-8th, 2012!

Sunset Beach, 16x20, canvas Giclee, edition of 50

Makana Breeze, 16x20, canvas Giclee, edition of 100

Thursday, April 12, 2012


I've been very fortunate to work with wonderful clients in the past year. It's exciting to see more and more requests come in for custom designs. Of all the types of illustration I've created however, the most exciting have been those for private portraits.

Interestingly, I don't often get requests for true-to-life renditions of the subjects. I find clients want to be interpreted and recreated in the style of my work. They want to envision themselves in a tropical dream being bathed by sunlight, as a beautiful wahine in a forgotten place and time. I'm always happy because I know before the art is created, it is already loved. 

Such is the case with this illustration for my latest client who dances hula and is a quite beautiful Japanese woman. I was asked to create an image in her likeness. Because she needs a digital file and not a finished canvas, I went for a fully digital illustration.  Here I wanted to share a bit of the process...

1. Ok, so not every step is digital. I do begin every illustration with a good old sketch. I don't go into much detail...I mostly just indicate where elements will sit and get a feel for the layout. This is submitted to the client for approval. 

2. After initial sketch is approved I begin the line drawing process. I like to think of this as digital inking, where I clean up my lines and create a framework for the image, working in Illustrator. 
3. My client did not want an exact rendition of herself but did want me to take cues her photographs. She was so lovely I couldn't help but be inspired by her facial features. 

 4. I carefully build the composition and base color. I sometimes will do this in gouache to pick up the texture of the paper. For this one, I did all my base in vector format.

5. Here I'm beginning to texturize the skirt and skin to give it a depth and tone. I work on the main subject first before moving on to the background/scenery.
6. Painting the ocean can be tricky. I challenge myself with each piece to come up with new ways to render water. Unlike the mountain (which is static) the ocean has a energy of it's own. The important thing to remember is to give the sea life and movement.

7. Ok, so you'll notice my girl's features changed since the original sketch. The first girl had smaller eyes and a poutier lip. I made some edits to suit the client's request. I put the finishing touches to the face, being careful to keep the shading soft and subtle. Overall, turned out great.
So this is my basic design process. I'll post the final version in the next few days when I complete the project. 'Till then, a hui hou! 

Friday, April 6, 2012

It's a blog!

Well look who finally started a blog...
after years of ignoring this page, I finally got my stuff together and gave this space much needed attention. With all the wonderful feedback, questions from students and fellow artists, and all the exciting new projects in store, I thought this would be a great way to connect with everyone.

Please bear with me while I collect images, photos, and other thangs for ya. ALOHA!